After running for more than three hours, a public hearing on a proposed mountain adventure park in Spallumcheen ended in a non-decision.
Close to 150 residents showed up at the Armstrong Centennial Hall on Thursday evening to speak against or in support of the proposed Wood Mountain Adventure Park. The lengthy and at times emotional hearing prompted Councillor Todd York to call for more decision-making time.
“In light of some great questions and concerns that were brought up tonight, I think it would be in some way inappropriate for us to make a decision at this point,” said York. His motion to delay was seconded by Councillor Christine LeMaire and passed unanimously.
“This was emotional at some times and I can see that people feel very strongly about some of the issues, and I think we have to examine some of those things a little more closely,” added York.
Kristy Liashenko and her husband Craig own a farm on Eagle Rock Road, immediately west of the proposed site. At the hearing they expressed to council their dire concern about how the project will impact their water supply.
“If we don’t have water we will lose everything that we worked 20 years for in a heartbeat,” Liashenko said through tears.
“My concern is there’s no professional planning, and if there was more professional preperation I’d feel more comfortable about it,” Liashenko added later on in the evening.
“I’m feeling more scared than I emotionally was before. I am beside myself right now.”
At the hearing’s end, Mayor Christine Fraser imparted to the remaining attendees that there will still be many stages of planning ahead.
“If this were to move forward, there’s lots of ability for council to make sure the concerns that have been raised tonight are addressed,” she said.
A decision on the adventure park’s application will now be made at the next scheduled council meeting on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.
It’s the second time a decision on the project has been delayed after a hearing on Tuesday was rescheduled due to an overcrowded venue.
Council received a total of 185 letters on the project, the vast majority being in favour of the park. Approximately 30 residents came up to the podium to speak in front of council, several making multiple podium appearances as the conversation developed.
Most speakers were residents whose property borders on the adventure park’s proposed site. The most common concerns brought up regarding the project were the potential for heightened risk of wildfire, contaminated or diverted water flow, noise and light disturbance and an increase in traffic on roads that are lacking in shoulder space for pedestrians.
Spallumcheen’s Woodbridge Dynamics Inc., operated by Jack and Patti Wood, have applied to the township to build Wood Mountain Adventure Park on their family-owned property to the west of Highway 97A between Powerhouse Road and Eagle Rock Road. Plans for the park include an alpine coaster ride, children’s play area and challenge course, along with buildings for ticket and merchandise sales, washroom, ride cart storage and repair and administration.
Jack Wood took several turns at the podium to clarify questions from the public following his initial presentation.
“The predominant problem that my neighbours are bringing up seems to be the water issue,” said Wood. “All these roads, all these parking lots, everything that is there has been there for a very, very long time. All of the water issues – unless you go back 30 or 40 years – I don’t believe they’re coming off of my property.”